Membership Websites and Digital Subscriptions Gaining Popularity

membership websites

Membership websites convert subscribers to members; Interactive tools help The New York Times get subscribers; The Daily News to offer subscriptions

Digital publishers will continue to establish and evolve their membership websites as products, tools, and software options lead to successful revenue streams. Today we’re visiting publishers who have made new advances in their subscription offerings recently.

We begin with a story on Crain’s Detroit Business and its membership offerings. SIIA reports, “Crain’s Detroit Business has gone a different route—they’ve converted every subscriber to membership “because the old model is too transactional,” wrote publisher/editor Ron Fournier.”


“More than 600 subscribers joined, many more than they expected. “…readers told us they want a deeper relationship with Crain’s and shared with us the programs and products that would bring them more value,” Fournier wrote Sunday, answering questions about the new membership program.”

The article continues with details on membership and a description from Fournier on one of the membership options. “Fournier describes Enhanced membership as their “best” deal and Premier membership “for our most elite members.” It reminds me of a recent experience where a local arts group posted discounted $30 tickets to a popular show while seats just a couple rows further up remained $119. Two people I know bought the $119 tickets which astounded me. It pays to offer a high-priced option.”

Our next story looks at The New York Times and its process for building its membership websites on the route to its goal of 10 million subscribers. Digiday reports, “The New York Times’ lofty goal of getting to 10 million subscribers is an all-hands-on-deck mission — involving even its Interactive News desk, the group charged with interactive elements that support the paper’s long articles.”

“…lately, Koski and his team have begun working on things to build habits in readers with products that can be replicated across verticals and areas of interest for Times readers. One example is a space calendar launched in August that informed users about major events happening in the world of astronomy. It amassed over 80,000 subscribers, so Koski and his team replicated it for The New York Times Book Review.”

Ultimately, this team is helping the publication get more members. “While the team doesn’t have internal metrics that show a correlation between the use of its products and subscriptions — like the ones it has for newsletters — its mandate is to find more ways to encourage regular reader engagements.”

Our final story of the day looks at the membership websites being developed by major news publishers like Daily News, which is launching February 1. According to MediaPost, “Readers without a print or digital subscription will be able to read 10 articles for free each month before they are asked to subscribe. Readers with a print subscription to the newspaper will get free digital access to Daily News.”

“The introductory offer for digital subscriptions will be 99 cents for 13 weeks.”

The article continues with the news of audience development content being used as well. “However, not all of the Daily News’ journalism online will require a subscription. Its homepage and various section fronts, such as News, Sports and Entertainment, will be available for free to readers.”

Do you need help bringing your membership websites to the next level? If you’d like to discuss how we can help you increase your audience, revenue and profits, please reach out to schedule a no obligation chat with Don Nicholas, our Founder, Chairman & CEO.


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